This is a fairly new (or rediscovered) Advent hymn to us, written by Johann G. Olearius in 1671. The tune is a little more difficult to sing than most hymns, but it is worth it to learn. We learned the version that’s in the Cantus Christi, which has a different and more interesting rhythm than the one in the Trinity Hymnal, though both tunes are the same. You can listen to the more interesting version here.
It’s a beautiful hymn based on the prophecy of Isaiah 40:1-4, which saw its fulfillment in Christ.
Comfort, comfort ye my people,
Speak ye peace, thus saith our God;
Comfort those who sit in darkness,
Mourning ‘neath their sorrow’s load;
Speak ye to Jerusalem
Of the peace that waits for them,
Tell her that her sins I cover,
And her warfare now is over.
Yea, her sins our God will pardon,
Blotting out each dark misdeed;
All that well deserved His anger
He will no more see nor heed.
She hath suffer’d many a day,
Now her griefs have passed away,
God will change her pining sadness
Into every springing gladness.
For Elijah’s voice is crying
In the desert far and near,
Bidding all men to repentance,
Since the kingdom now is here.
Oh that warning cry obey,
Now prepare for God a way!
Let the valleys rise to meet Him,
And the hills bow down to greet Him.
Make ye straight what long was crooked,
Make the rougher places plain,
Let your hearts be true and humble,
As befits His holy reign.
For the glory of the Lord
Now o’er earth is shed abroad;
And all flesh shall see the token
That His Word is never broken.